Monday, 13 December 2010

SGFA exhibition at Denbies Vineyard

I'm exhibiting with the Society of Graphic Fine Art at Denbies Vineyard, near Dorking in Surrey. The exhibition is open 9.30 - 5 every day (Sunday 10 - 5) until 23 December.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Willow Foundation auction results

Thank you to everyone who supported the Willow Foundation auction, especially those who bought my painting, raising a stagggering £155 for the charity!

I'm not yet sure what the total amount raised is. But a few hours before the auction finished, the top twenty-five canvases alone had already raised nearly £20,000.

UPDATE 9 December: Just heard that the total amount raised is £58,000!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Roman Holiday VII: Largo di Torre Argentina

Largo di Torre Argentina, a square in the centre of Rome. The sunken area of the right, in the centre of the square, contains the remains of four Roman temples and the Pompey Theatre, on the steps of which Julius Caesar was assassinated.

Now, it's a cat sanctuary.

Largo di Torre Argentina, Rome
Ink and watercolour on paper, 28 x 9 cm. Click the picture for a bigger version.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Roman Holiday VI: Arch of Constantine

Painting in public usually attracts spectators. The good thing about Rome is that there are plenty of other things to distract them. When there's the Arch of Constantine in front, the Trajan Market behind, the Forum to the right, and the Colosseum to the left, I don't get much attention.

Arch of Constantine, Rome
Ink and watercolour on paper, 28 x 9 cm. Click the picture for a bigger version.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Roman Holiday V: Santa Maria in Cosmedin

Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. In the portico of the church is the "Bocca della Verita", an ancient stone face: if you tell a lie with your hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it will be bitten off.

We didn't test it.

Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome
Ink and watercolour on paper, 16 x 9 cm. Click the picture for a bigger version.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sussex Arts Collective Christmas show

I'm exhibiting at the Sussex Arts Collective "Noel" show, at the Hop Gallery in Lewes.

Sussex Arts Collective

Friday 26 November to Wednesday 22 December.

Monday to Saturday 10.30 - 5, Sundays 11 - 5. Lewes late night shopping event: Thursday 2 December 6 - 8 pm.

Hop Gallery, Star Brewery, Castle Ditch Lane (off Fisher Street), Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1YJ.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Roman Holiday IV: Rooftops

View across Rome: Looking east from the Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi on the Janiculum Hill.

Rome: Rooftops
Ink and watercolour, 15 x 9 cm. Click the picture for a bigger version

This is a fascinating view to draw. What strikes me is that there are no skyscrapers breaking up the view. The highest buildings are still the domes of the Baroque churches (of which there are many), and the large white building to the right: "Il Vittoriano" (National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II), which is 81m high.

However, everyone else likes this view as well. I could have stayed drawing for much longer, but I was getting too many spectators to feel comfortable.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Willow Foundation auction

Stars on Canvas 2010 auction: Hundreds of canvas each created by a different artist or celebrity - from Tracey Emin to Jude Law, raising money for the Willow Foundation to provide special days for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds throughout the UK. The auction is live now on ebay, and continues until 5 December. An exhibition of the canvases runs from 2 to 5 December at the Catto Gallery, Hampstead.

And it's probably the only time that one of my paintings will be exhibited next to Tracey Emin.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

New English Art Club

My "St Mary Axe/Leadenhall" linocut will be in the New English Art Club open exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. The exhibition runs from Friday 26 November - Sunday 5 December 2010.

London linocut, final stage

More information
New English Art Club
Mall Galleries

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Roman Holiday III: Pyramid of Cestius

View from the English Cemetery, where Keats and Shelley are buried. The pyramid, which is a mausoleum for a Roman magistrate, dates from 18BC; the city walls were built around it. It's 37m high (I couldn't fit it all on the paper), and still covered in white marble.

Pyramid of Cestius

Ink and watercolour on paper, approx 28 x 9 cm. Click the picture for a bigger version.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Roman Holiday II: Via della Minerva

This is a good example of what I was saying about choosing somewhere comfortable to sit before choosing what to draw.

Behind me is the Pantheon: the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome, even after two thousand years. To the left, is a curious Bernini fountain with an elephant carrying an obelisk on its back.

Via della Minerva
Ink and watercolour on paper, 9 x 14 cm. Click the picture for a bigger view.

But the wall I'm sitting on faces a lamppost and a MacDonald's sign, so that's what I draw.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Friday, 19 November 2010

Roman Holiday I: The Colosseum

The Colosseum from the north.

The Colosseum
Ink and watercolour on paper, approx 28 x 9 cm. Click the image for a bigger view.

When drawing in a new location, the temptation is to draw the obvious things: the big sites and tourist attractions.

However, the priority has to be somewhere comfortable to sit: away from too many crowds, and preferably where no one can stand behind you watching. Then I draw whatever's in front of me. This often means that I end up drawing something unexpected, that I wouldn't have noticed otherwise.

But wherever you sit in Rome, you find yourself in front of some important world-famous, jaw-dropping, historical monument.

And as a bonus, the sun shines, even in the middle of November.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Cuckmere Valley, final stage

Final stage of this print, at last.

Cuckmere Valley, final stage

Seven-stage reduction linocut, 24 x 17cm. (Though now it's finished, I think, "Seven? Surely I could have done it in three?")

It wasn't until I'd started to print this image that I realised it makes a good pair with my "Across the Downs" print: This view is from High and Over, the highest point on the road between Seaford and Alfriston, looking north over the Cuckmere Valley towards Wilmington Hill. The earlier print shows the view looking west from Wilmington Hill, towards Firle Beacon. I wonder if I can get a view from Firle Beacon looking back to High and Over, to complete the circle.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Family pawtrait

Mr and Mrs Cat proudly show off their new kitten.

To be sold in support of the Willow Foundation (Stars on Canvas auction, starting 25 November 2010).

Family portrait

Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20cm.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Cuckmere Valley, stage 5

Stage 5, stage 4, stage 6? This print has been dragging on so long, I think I've lost count. However, the latest darker layer has been a big jump forward: the details appear, and at last, the end is in sight.

Cuckmere Valley, stage 5

One more stage to go.

Or maybe two.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Cuckmere Valley, stage 4

Another, darker, green layer. Some of the fields appear.

Cuckmere Valley linocut, stage 4

The tones in the earlier layers look more "correct" now that this mid-toned layer is in place.

I thought that the print would need only two more layers, and that this would be the penultimate one, but now it looks as if there will still be two more after this one.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Life drawing

My drawing of Guy from Saturday's life drawing session:

Guy

Pencil on paper, A3.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Cuckmere Valley, stage 3

Third stage: A blue-green to yellow-green blend over the previous layers. The trees on the distant hills appear.

Cuckmere Valley, stage 3

This stage looks too dark. Or are the previous stages too light?

I'm hoping there will be only another two layers to complete this print.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Cuckmere Valley, stage 2

A slightly darker version of the blend that was on the first stage, but still trying to keep the tones light.

Cuckmere Valley linocut, stage 2

The clouds and the river appear. That's the sky finished, at least.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Chrysanthemums, probably

Two hours to draw three-and-a-half chrysanthemums? Where does the time go?

Actually, some of it was spent deciding whether these were chrysanthemums. Or dahlias. Or Michaelmas daisies.

Chrysanthemums

Ink on watercolour paper, 20 x 20 cm approx.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Cuckmere Valley: Stage 1

First stage of a new linocut. I've cut away a few marks that I want to stay white, and then printed a blended layer from ultramarine blue to yellow ochre to a blue-grey mix.

New linocut: Stage 1

Not much to see yet. Forcing myself to keep the early stages as light as possible to create more contrast with the darker, later stages.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Life drawing: Guy

Today at the life drawing group, everyone produced some inspired work with our new model.

Here are my three warmup drawings, and a longer pose.

Life drawing: Guy 1

Life drawing: Guy 2 Life drawing: Guy 3

Life drawing: Guy 4

Each: pencil on paper, A4 or A3.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

SGFA Private View

Last night, we went to the Private View of the Society of Graphic Fine Art's 89th annual exhibition. It was at the Menier Gallery in London.

SGFA Private View 2010

As we reached the gallery, I saw something in the window that I recognised.

SGFA Private View 2010

Remember that?

The exhibition was opened by Victor Ambrus, the illustrator whom you might have seen on Channel 4's Time Team.

As we left the exhibition, we spotted a couple of shady looking characters hanging round the gallery. Obviously up to no good.

SGFA Private View 2010

We've reported them.

Photos by William de Wilde.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Pigs in scarves

Ashdown Forest was originally a royal hunting ground where monarchs such as Henry VIII hunted animals. Here, we see a group of boar sent out to entertain the king. It was a cold day, so they put on their sensible hats and scarves to keep warm.

Pigs in scarves

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Ashdown Forest linocuts, final stage

Final layer of colour: I used a near-black, mixed from ultramarine, cadmium red, and cadmium yellow, adjusting the proportions to suit the underlying colours.

Ashdown Forest linocuts, final stage
Ashdown Forest, Looking South.
Five stage reduction linocut, 10 x 10 cm.


Ashdown Forest linocuts, final stage
Ashdown Forest, Autumn Morning.
Five stage reduction linocut, 10 x 10 cm.


The thing that I like about these prints is that I managed to keep the early layers very pale, which improves the contrast with the dark later layers.

The things that I don't like are some not-very-good drawing in places, and too many "Why did I cut that?" moments.

On with the next prints...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Ashdown Forest linocuts, stage 4

I put the prints to one side for a day or two. When they're not going well, it's hard to find the enthusiasm to continue.

At last, I added another layer.

Ashdown Forest linocuts, stage 4

Ashdown Forest linocuts, stage 4

I think the new layers have improved the prints; the darker tones give them a bit more impact.

I'll probably finish them now.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Ashdown Forest linocuts, stage 3

Another layer on each of these prints.

Ashdown Forest linocut, stage 3

Ashdown Forest linocut, stage 3

And I'm still not happy. The second one has been particularly awkward. After printing a few, I noticed something wrong on the right edge of the print:

Ashdown Forest linocut, stage 3

There's a strip of the underlying yellow layer showing down the edge of the print. It looks like misregistration -- but the left edge of the print is correctly registered. It's as if the block shrunk while it went through the press! The error is only a few millimetres wide, but that's enough to mar a small print like this (it's 10cm square).

After printing another copy I found that the error was consistent. I fixed it by hand-burnishing that edge before putting the block through the press, which seem to stick it in the correct place.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Ashdown Forest linocuts, stage 2

Next stage.

A blend from slightly-darker-than-before-blue to dull green.

Ashdown Forest linocuts, stage 2

Already a bit worried about this one; those ferns in the foreground are a bit feeble, though they're not meant to be finished yet.

And this one has a blend from dull green down to warm yellow, which is intended to become the gorse flowers.

Ashdown Forest linocuts, stage 2

But I'm already a bit worried about this one as well. The background hill is a bit wobbly, and what was I thinking about when I cut that light patch out of the foreground? What is it meant to be?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Ashdown Forest linocuts

First stage of two linocuts that I am working on in parallel.

Ashdown Forest linocut, stage 1

Ashdown Forest linocut, stage 1

I'm trying hard to keep this important first layer as light as possible. Both images have hills in the background that need to recede.

Friday, 27 August 2010

South Downs linocut, final stage

A dark green layer completes the picture. Just finished this in time to show it at the Lewes Artwave exhibition.

South Downs linocut, final stage

Across the Downs. Five stage reduction linocut, 24 x 17 cm.

This is the view from the hill above Wilmington, East Sussex. The "Long Man" is just below, to the right. I'm looking west; the peak on the horizon is Firle Beacon. Just below it, you can see the steeple of Berwick church.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Dave Lefner film

Here's an interesting film by Ric Serena about the Los Angeles printmaker, Dave Lefner. Lefner records the neon signs of the city in linocuts. They are big images: 36 x 13 inches or 36 x 20 inches are popular sizes, though Lefner appears to use only a 6" roller. I like the care with which they are drawn, and the saturated colours.

Nice studio, too.



To watch in full screen, right-click the video, and then click Enter Full Screen.

See more pictures on Dave Lefner's website.

(Found here: http://jefferysaddoris.com/2010/08/dave-lefner.)

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

South Downs linocut, stage 4

Another green blend over the previous layers.

South Downs linocut, stage 4

The greens on this layer are mixed from cadmium yellow with ultramarine blue instead of the cobalt that I used on the earlier layers. Ultramarine is warmer than cobalt; warm colours move to the front of the picture plane, increasing the sense of depth.

Ultramarine blue

One more layer to go.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

South Downs linocut, stage 3

Third layer: A darker blend of blue green down to brighter green.

South Downs linocut, stage 3

Yesterday, I was thinking about whether I should depict the landscape as it is (that is, wet and grey in England), or how it should be: warm and sunny.

Today, I realised the solution: Move to a country where the landscape is warm and sunny.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

South Downs linocut, stage 2

Second layer: I cut away more of the clouds, the grass, and some of the distant buildings, and then printed a blend from blue down to green.

South Downs linocut, stage 2

As expected, the sky in the first layer was too dark. It doesn't look much like England.

There's a dilemma here. Do I make skies pale and grey, which is accurate and honest -- or do I make them warm and blue, which is cheerful and attractive?

What's the point of making pictures? To show the world how it is, or how it should be?

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Lewes Artwave Festival 2010

I'll be exhibiting at one of the Artist Open Houses, part of the Lewes Artwave Festival.

Where: 19 Mill Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2RU.
When: August 28, 29, 30; September 4, 5, 11, 12: 12noon-5pm.

More information on the Artwave website.

Sussex Arts Collective poster

Sussex Arts Collective poster

South Downs linocut, stage 1

Here's the first layer of a new linocut. A blend from blue to yellow starts to create the sky and the fields.

South Downs linocut, stage 1

Bother: I think already that the sky is going to be too dark. It's far too warm and sunny for a typical English summer sky.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Venice linocut, final stages

To complete the Venice print, I added a darker layer...

Venice linocut, stage 4

...and then an even darker layer. (There is actually a difference between these two pictures; it's clearer on the print than it is on screen.)

Venice linocut
Venice. Linocut, 10 x 10cm.

This is view of the bridge over the Rio de Barcaroli, joining the Campiello dietro la Chiesa and the Piscina de Frezzaria.